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Wednesday, 07 April 2010

New Mechanical Engineering building to complete first construction phase by month end


Construction work on the new Mechanical Engineering building is progressing at a rapid rate, with one section of the facility earmarked for completion by the end of April.

The building, which is being constructed in phases at the Bellville campus, will be connected via a passage to the existing Mechanical Engineering building. If all goes as planned the last phase of the building will be completed by the end of the 2010 academic year.

Measuring 5 000 sqm, the new building will have the capacity to house 1 800 students and 70 staff members.

Head of the Cape Town Mechanical Engineering Department, Tjaart van der Schyff, said the move to construct a new facility at the Bellville campus is part of the consolidation process of the institution.

Currently Mechanical Engineering programmes are on offer at the Cape Town and Bellville Campuses. The new facility will allow the department to relocate all Cape Town staff, students and facilities to the Bellville Campus.

This consolidation process follows that of several other departments in other faculties, which have either consolidated at the Bellville or Cape Town campuses.

Van der Schyff said they have already started the consolidation process by locating all 2010 first year students at the Bellville Campus.

More students and staff are soon expected to take occupation of phase one of the building, which is scheduled to be completed at the end of April. This section, which is adjacent to the front of the existing Mechanical Engineering building, consists of several classrooms and staff offices.

“The remainder of the department will move in 2011,” said van der Schyff.

The two-story building will consist of several hi-tech laboratories, workshops, lecture theatres, classrooms and staff rooms. Existing laboratories will also be extended.

Head of the Bellville Mechanical Engineering Department Zwelethu Ngewana, said space has also been allocated to house 15 doctoral students while a section of the existing building will be revamped to house 40 Master’s students. Provision has also been made for a study area for undergraduate students.

The building will also house the Industrial Systems Engineering Department.

Ngewana said consolidating the departments is a huge task. He said once the building is completed, they will have to look at moving all equipment stationed at the Cape Town Campus to the new building.

“It is going to be a huge operation to transport all the equipment,” he said.

However, Ngewana said they are looking forward to the completion of the building and operating the department from one site.

By Candes Keating

Photos: (top) The new Mechanical Engineering Building begins to take shape. (bottom) Mechanical Engineering students, seen here performing class work, will soon be able to use the building’s new facilities.

Written by CPUT News